On October 13th, The Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program announced that Rondobel, a timber company operating in the state of Pará, Brazil, has become the first company in Latin America to meet Rainforest Alliance standards for Verification of Legal Origin (VLO). Rondobel was assisted by The Forest Trust (TFT) through the Timber Trade Action Plan (TTAP) project to achieve the verification status.
The Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program developed VLO standards to verify that timber comes from a source that has a documented legal right to harvest and complies with the laws and regulations of the government of the jurisdiction. Suppliers of VLO timber must follow and maintain documented chain-of-custody systems.
“Independent verification is becoming increasingly important for exporters to the EU and US markets to show conformance to the legality standards of the EU’s Due Diligence Regulation and the USA’s Lacey Act,” said Christian Sloth, forestry verification services manager at the Rainforest Alliance. He continued, “Achieving VLO demonstrates legal practices throughout all steps of Rondobel’s timber supply chain.”
Rondobel’s forest area of 39,500 acres (16,000 hectares) was assessed in March 2010 by Rainforest Alliance partner IMAFLORA, the Institute for Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification. IMAFLORA verified that the sawn timber Rondobel produces meets VLO standards and the VLO statement was issued on October 6th 2010.
“VLO standards are the answer to a growing market demand, especially with respect to timber exporting companies,” said Leonardo Sobral, IMAFLORA forester and project team leader. He continued, “These standards were developed with the purpose of covering an ample spectrum of producers that are concerned with good forest management, from local community enterprises to large wood processing industries. The implementation of VLO standards is the first step of a forest enterprise towards Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.”
Rondobel’s achievement of VLO verification is especially important considering that the state of Pará encompasses a significant portion of the Amazon Rainforest. Verification of the legality of wood sources addresses the serious global issue of illegal logging, which continues to undermine efforts to promote social equity, environmental conservation and sustainable economic growth in many nations.
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